The Volkswagen Tiguan hit the Australian market in 2008 with a second-generation model launched for 2012. Proving to be a hit, by 2013, it was Volkswagen’s third best-selling model behind the Golf and Polo.
Visibly, the Tiguan clearly comes from the same family as its big brother, the Touareg, and although it is aimed at a slightly different market, it is no less classy in its own right. Unlike many cars of this class, the Tiguan is attractively styled, with clean lines and a compact appearance, which belies the space that lies within.
Despite its classification as a compact 4x4, in truth, the Tiguan performs best on the tarmac or in relatively tame off-road conditions. In terms of its performance, it could perhaps be likened more closely to a high-clearance Golf than to a true off-roader. That said, it copes admirably with a range of conditions and hugs the road like a glove when zipping around town or out on the open road.
There are now four engines available – three petrol and one diesel. The petrol engines comprise a twin-charged 1.4L TSI giving 118kW and 240Nm, a 2.0L TSI giving 132kW, and a luxury 2.0L giving 155kW and 280Nm of torque. A fourth option is a 2.0L diesel that produces 103kW, which balances decent performance with an excellent fuel economy of 6.2 L/100km.
The entry-level 1.4L model comes with a two-wheel drive (front) option only, while the rest of the pack all come with four-wheel drive as standard, featuring Volkswagen’s unique 4MOTION drive system. Six-speed manual transmission accompanies the 1.4L petrol option, while the 132TSi and the diesel offer a choice of 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG, and the 155TSI comes with 7-speed DSG transmission only.
The Tiguan offers good value for money, especially in its entry-level 118TSI petrol guise. Expect to find plenty of safety equipment including 6 airbags, anti-lock braking system, auto hold function, brake assist, and EBD (electronic brake force distribution). You can also count on 16-inch alloy wheels (higher spec on the 155 TSI), air-conditioning, security-coded radio with MP3 and CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, and MDI (Media Device Interface) with USB connection cable.
The standard trim and finish is excellent, once more pitching Volkswagen highly against much of the competition. The chrome highlights offset the dark dash and interior finishes to perfection, adding a feel of quality despite the predominantly cloth upholstery of the standard models. Even these come with high-quality leather on the steering wheel and handbrake lever, and, of course, higher-spec trim levels offer an even classier overall finish.
The 155TSI boasts 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone auto climate control, upgraded audio system with touchscreen, automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and rear parking optical sensor system, along with sports suspension and sports seats for a more earthy ride.
Additional options are plentiful, as you would expect from a quality European manufacturer, ranging from RNS510 satnav and a super-luxury leather package for the 155TSI model to an adaptive chassis-control system and special Park Assist 2, which is unique to VW.
There is plenty of space to the rear; in fact, it could be argued that with this being predominantly a family car, some more legroom could perhaps have been sacrificed in order to create a roomier boot. That’s not to say that there is comfortable space for three adults in the back, however. Essentially the back seat is designed for two and the limited cabin width prevents it from doing much more. Nevertheless, there is plenty to distinguish the Tiguan, and passengers can be reassured of a comfy ride.
This is a crowded market place and the Tiguan has some stiff competition to stand up against, but there is also an increasing demand for compact 4x4s, meaning the buyers keep on coming and prices hold well on the forecourt.
This is a segment in which buyers are looking for quality as well as value, so there is a real correlation between sales levels, performance, and spec – and on the whole, the Tiguan comes out trumps. Anyone considering investing in a compact 4x4 will, however, want to check out the competition, so if you are in the market for this type of car, take a look also at the Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport, Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sportage, Skoda Yeti 103 TDI, and the ever-popular Holden Captiva.